31 May 2015

In the past, I'd gone on game walks and game drives,
but cruising on the Chobe River was a nice alternative.

In the postcolonial 1960s, most African countries became kleptocracies run by ruthless tyrants, Marxist buffoons, military despots. A rare exception was Seretse Khama, who did not rob or wreck Botswana. Instead, he promoted economic
and political freedom, launching Africa’s most sustained economic boom.

Among countries on the continent today, Botswana is rated as one of the least corrupt, least poor, and most free and democratic.

Botswana is the size of France (and not quite as big as Texas) but is sparsely settled with little more than two million inhabitants.

I had a good week in Botswana ―
  • flying into Kasane, staying at the Chobe Safari Lodge then the Bush Lodge,
  • taking a little charter flight to Pom Pom Camp in the Okavango Delta,
  • and finally another charter to the airport in Maun to depart Botswana.
Chobe crocodile posing for paparazzi.

You'd think 4-5 ton elephants (3000kg) would sink into the marsh.
And, yes, that first elephant does need a cattle egret on its back.

A pod of hippopotamuses (or hippopotami) grazing by the Chobe River, plus one solo.
Other collective terms: a thunder of hippos or a bloat of hippos!

Hanging out with two of the coolest Chobe travelers: with Gideon
(foolishly sitting on a boat railing above a crocodile-infested river)
and later with Hillary (yes, that does makes us "Bill & Hillary")

Safari soap opera...
Top: Lions had guarded and eaten the elephant carcass (foreground) over the past week.
Second: Vultures waited in nearby trees for the lions to tire of their rotting buffet.
Third: The next morning we happened to witness lions having their final snack.
Fourth: Vultures quickly descended and fought for openings in the thick hide.
Bonus: Imagine the intense, putrid stench of a long-rotting elephant blowing your way.

Okavango Delta
A river delta is supposed to empty into the sea, right? Usually, but not always.

The Okavango River flows into a flat arid area, floods the savannah, splits into channels, creates lots of marshland, and eventually evaporates into Botswana's desert.
View of part of the Okavango Delta flying toward Pom Pom Camp.

A few log bridges are needed to cross marshes to reach good areas for game drives.

On a rifle-protected game walk in the Okavango Delta.
(You'd think a Swiss man with an extravagant camera could focus my compact camera.)

Relaxing as much as prudent with lions in the neighborhood,
a kudu (one of the largest species of antelopes) bull
with trees trying to copy his majestic antlers.
Speaking of lions, I'm skipping my many photos of more elephants, giraffes, etc., for a few more pics of lions, always the top thrill of a game drive, especially when they saunter by a few yards away from you.
Top: Ten meters away (no zoom) in Chobe.
Middle: Equally close on an evening game drive near Pom Pom Camp.
Bottom: Two lions on a very early morning game drive near Pom Pom.

Night quickly descending over the Botswana bush and the temperature quickly drops.